Monday, February 11, 2013

Homeland Security Creates "Constitution-Free" Zones

By Seth Mason

The erosion of civil liberties in this country is scary, and it's a travesty that the MSM and even the conservative media (Rush, etc.) won't talk about it.

The latest development in 4th Amendment violations is the scariest I've heard yet. The Department of the Fatherland has approved a policy which states in no uncertain terms that electronic devices can be seized without a warrant within 100 miles of the border. The kicker? The "border", according to this policy, is any national barrier, political or physical. THIS INCLUDES BODIES OF WATER. So, that means that the United States has, in effect, "Constitution-free zones" stretching 100 miles inland from every coast and 100 miles from our northern and southern borders. Unbelievable! Wired has the story:

The Department of Homeland Security’s civil rights watchdog has concluded that travelers along the nation’s borders may have their electronics seized and the contents of those devices examined for any reason whatsoever — all in the name of national security.

The DHS, which secures the nation’s border, in 2009 announced that it would conduct a “Civil Liberties Impact Assessment” of its suspicionless search-and-seizure policy pertaining to electronic devices “within 120 days.” More than three years later, the DHS office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties published a two-page executive summary of its findings.

“We also conclude that imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits,” the executive summary said.

The memo highlights the friction between today’s reality that electronic devices have become virtual extensions of ourselves housing everything from e-mail to instant-message chats to photos and our papers and effects — juxtaposed against the government’s stated quest for national security.

The President George W. Bush administration first announced the suspicionless, electronics search rules in 2008. The President Barack Obama administration followed up with virtually the same rules a year later. Between 2008 and 2010, 6,500 persons had their electronic devices searched along the U.S. border, according to DHS data.

According to legal precedent, the Fourth Amendment — the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures — does not apply along the border. By the way, the government contends the Fourth-Amendment-Free Zone stretches 100 miles inland from the nation’s actual border.

Civil rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union suggest that “reasonable suspicion” should be the rule, at a minimum, despite that being a lower standard than required by the Fourth Amendment.

“There should be a reasonable, articulate reason why the search of our electronic devices could lead to evidence of a crime,” Catherine Crump, an ACLU staff attorney, said in a telephone interview. “That’s a low threshold.”

The DHS watchdog’s conclusion isn’t surprising, as the DHS is taking that position in litigation in which the ACLU is challenging the suspicionless, electronic-device searches and seizures along the nation’s borders. But that conclusion nevertheless is alarming considering it came from the DHS civil rights watchdog, which maintains its mission is “promoting respect for civil rights and civil liberties.”

“This is a civil liberties watchdog office. If it is doing its job property, it is supposed to objectively evaluate. It has the power to recommend safeguards to safeguard Americans’ rights,” Crump said. “The office has not done that and the public has the right to know why.”
Toward that goal, the ACLU on Friday filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding to see the full report that the executive summary discusses.

Meantime, a lawsuit the ACLU brought on the issue concerns a New York man whose laptop was seized along the Canadian border in 2010 and returned 11 days later after his attorney complained.

At an Amtrak inspection point, Pascal Abidor showed his U.S. passport to a federal agent. He was ordered to move to the cafe car, where they removed his laptop from his luggage and “ordered Mr. Abidor to enter his password,” according to the lawsuit.

Agents asked him about pictures they found on his laptop, which included Hamas and Hezbollah rallies. He explained that he was earning a doctoral degree at a Canadian university on the topic of the modern history of Shiites in Lebanon.

He was handcuffed and then jailed for three hours while the authorities looked through his computer while numerous agents questioned him, according to the suit, which is pending in New York federal court.
Here's a map of the nation's "Constitution-free zones", according to the ACLU:
Homeland Security Creates "Constitution-Free" Zones - map

Where in the hell is the outrage in the media? Why the hell are nationally-syndicated talk radio hosts yapping about "Obamaphones" instead of this? Syndicate me! I actually talk about issues that matter!


The above originally appeared at Ecominoes and is reprinted here with permission.

38 comments:

  1. lol....all of Florida is "Constitution-Free"

    I know I shouldn't be laughing, but it still strikes me as funny none-the-less.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just an FYI for everyone:

      Unrepentant terrorist Bernadine Dohrn is employed by the ACLU.

      I suspect that the ACLU and the government are playing "Good Cop, Bad Cop" in order to take our liberties.

      Delete
    2. Michigan too, and a few of the little states in the northeast

      Delete
    3. actually the mich part is wrong, only the upper and eastern portions are within 100miles of the actual border in the middle of lakes superior and huron....the map is drawn as if lake michigan is also an international border (which then incudes chicago), but it's not, it is an entirely US lake, so no 100mile border area

      Delete
    4. Actually only some of Michigan is included. The UP is 200 miles long

      Delete
    5. Why is the western half of Michigan's lower peninsula shaded? That border on the lake is an interstate border, not international. Never mind that the whole idea is bullish*t.

      Delete
  2. Had my laptop gaped for 4 hours in Miami back in 2006. When I asked "Why?" The "officer" said "None of your fucking business". Direct quote.
    Oh, and BTW, I missed my connecting flight.

    ReplyDelete
  3. At least 10 states where the Constitution no longer applies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You quite right, in my first brief glance my brain didn't even process all the New England states it covers completely.

      Delete
    2. and counting.... it won't be too long before the zone stretches inner and inner to include kansas and oklahoma.

      Delete
  4. It would be interesting to see what percentage of the population this covers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Once I actually zoomed in on the map, it said it covers around 197 million people....so around 60% I guess assuming 330 million people...I always hear different pop. figures.

      Delete
  5. What about airports? Every "Int'l" is a "border" with Customs and Immigration. Does it include 100 miles around every major airport in the USA?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Uh, oh. Both of my homes are in constitution free zones.
    Everyday I get closer to just packing up and leaving......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry friend, but due to new DHS rules (we don't have to follow any laws because we ARE the damn law you idiot sheeples) you may not pack up and go anywhere mister!.!.!.
      WHY? 'cause we SAY SO, THAT'S F!@#$% WHY!

      Delete
    2. take singapore, but make sure you pay that exit tax like the facebook guy did, to the tune of 200 mil

      Delete
  7. Maybe it is time some one told those crap heads they can't change the constitution without a vote of the people.

    If they touch your stuff start screaming crack head with a gun and in the mean time call your local Sheriff.

    ReplyDelete
  8. That's why they call it the "homeland". Man, am I getting sick of everybody that should know better using the term.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Time to move to Wyoming.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Time to move to Mars.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I remember that when I was a little kid I saw movies where the Nazi troopers would stop someone and demand "papers please." Little did I know that as an adult I would see that come to pass right here in the USA. What a sad state of affairs has taken over the beloved country I grew up in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At the age of 16 you got a drivers liscence. Those were your papers.When you were born and you got a social security number, those were your papers. When the Jews is Germany got tatood those were there papers. When you get a chip in your head or hand. That will be your last set of papers.

      Delete
  12. As long as they arrest would be Phds spending tax payer money to write thesis about the Shiite movement within Hezbolah in post modern Lebanon…. I'm all for it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. 2/3rds of the US population lives within 100 miles of its borders! This is not an insignificent fact!
    I recall this article 3 years ago: http://arstechnica.com/security/2008/10/aclu-23-of-us-population-lives-in-constitution-free-zone/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you can bet homeland will stretch inner to include the hogs in iowa and cows in texas

      Delete
  14. Brilliant piece. We are doomed.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Arizona seems to be a forerunner of what it will be like to live in a "Brave New World", the proles admire the two toughest sheriffs, Border Patrol, and Homeland Security. Servitude is the favorite dish of the American Southwest, and is usually accompanied by a side of football stadium taxes, baseball stadium taxes, and a round of applause for men in uniform.

    But on a more serious note, anytime you are headed south of Phoenix you run the chance of coming in contact with a checkpoint. Some checkpoints are well marked and and you know what to expect, others are in the middle of nowhere and can take you by surprise. Drivers with Libertarian attitudes concerning search and seizure, and who question authority will be in for a rough go of it.

    Astronomer Terry Bressi, and Pastor Steven Anderson are two individuals who have had serious encounters at checkpoints here in Arizona. Having met and talked to both of them, and watched their checkpoint face-offs on Youtube, I can say with certainty that certitude, and Libertarian attitudes are seriously frowned upon by law enforcement.

    Arizona now reminds me of my last trip deep into Mexico 38 years ago when I was kicked out of a town square in Baja California by a sheriff and his black-shirted, rifle-toting boy scouts on a whim. On the the way home from San Blas I came upon a large group of machine gun wielding Federales wearing checkered bandanas, work shirts, and dual gun belts across their shoulders. The checkpoint was hidden by a blind curve and a cactus forest in the high desert, 30 miles from the nearest town. I have not been back!

    ReplyDelete
  16. If I am not mistaken, federal territorial waters stretch out 200 miles off of the coast. Making the 100 mile rule in HI, FL, etc. actually 100 miles offshore?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Territorial waters extend for 12 miles. From there I believe the is a 200 mile "economic zone" extending outward -- not technically U.S. waters though the U.S. might have exclusive economic rights to them (i.e. fishing, oil and mineral exploration, et cetera). So depending on how they define it, it might be only 88 miles inland -- still, the vast majority of people in coastal areas within 100 miles of the coastline also live within 88 miles of it.

      Delete
  17. They forgot the shade the gray portion of the map.

    ReplyDelete
  18. http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-approval-rating-poll-republicans-bloomberg-2013-2

    ReplyDelete
  19. Catherine Crump may be a kook whose judgement should doubted. She thinks that Article VII of the Constitution stated the law about "Establishment" before Article VII or any other part of the Constitution had been established. (I'll trust that you can understand the absurdity of Article VII without further explanation.)

    On the other hand, maybe Catherine understands A7 only too well. If so, then what is the significance of her claim that "This is a civil liberties watchdog office"? Is she not a product of the same system of law schools and attorney registration agencies that supplies the DHS, too, with attorneys?

    But of course she is, as are other hacks hired by the ACLU.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Security over Liberty, can we return the statue back to France?

    Replaced with a statue of Security, one jumbo camera.

    Might as well just throw everyone in prison.

    Safety suckers. There is no Liberty in security. The fourth amendment is the second most important in our bill of rights. Which is now just a bill of requests...

    ReplyDelete
  21. Does that mean people in these zones are exempt from paying taxes? lol

    ReplyDelete
  22. I could understand if we were having a huge problem with terrorism they would do this, but it's all unnecissary. I honestly think the U.S. is planning to go to war with Iran because Iran is refusing to sell oil in U.S. currency anymore. This is the real reason why we invaded Iraq. We're helping the rebels in Syria who are supposed to be our enemy to draw Iran into a war. Russia and China will support Iran so it could mean WW3. This is probably why this is happening.

    ReplyDelete
  23. and yet there has been no uprising, ill die with my rights, the rest of you will deserve the boxcar. fair enough. ignorance and being a complete spineless pussy is bliss i guess.

    ReplyDelete
  24. if you dont spill blood now and you live in one of these places, enjoy your iphone and your enslavement. SPINELESS COAWARDS

    ReplyDelete